Thursday, November 30, 2006

Blind Mice

The media continues to report on the Jamil Hussein story, disparaging Curt at Flopping Aces and others who have questioned the original AP story that was picked up by newspapers and media outlets around the world without knowing whether Hussein, in fact, actually existed.

AP stands by its stories, and claims that it has had its reporters interview Hussein again - and that he continues to stand by his stories.

However, the US military and the Iraqi government has responded in force - the guy does not exist.

There's a simple way to solve the problem. AP has to produce the guy. Let Hussein provide his bona-fides. If he is who he says he is, then we can take the story from there. If AP refuses to take this action, or other media outlets cannot find the guy, then we know something is definitely fishy.

The Times reporting on the story is sorely lacking and could use a serious update. Michelle Malkin and Flopping Aces have been at the forefront of the story.

Also commenting: Don Surber, Dan Riehl, Hot Air, Confederate Yankee, Gateway Pundit, Patterico, and the Belmont Club.

Curt has a good update. Others waiting in line to throw AP under the bus for proffering Hussein as a source and then absurdly claiming that he exists without any actual proof include: Stop the ACLU, and the Political Pit Bull.

Here's a few more thoughts on the NYT coverage here. The NYT seemingly wonders how an email from the MNF-I ended up on the conservative blog circuit - as though this was some piece of classified information that should be kept secret while the Times goes ahead and publishes story after story based on classified information leaked by persons who have violated federal law. The Times wants readers to believe in conspiracies where none exist, and chooses to single out a fact that the US military has found it necessary to deal with outside firms to handle communications because the media is doing such a piss-poor job reporting the conflict. Never mind that the military has been in constant contact with the media, including the Associated Press, but the AP has refused to address the military's version with anything but derision and contempt. Bloggers picked up on the story because they smelled something was fishy. Simply put, the military did not single out bloggers to contact, but instead was engaging in outreach to inquiring bloggers in addition to its daily reporting to media outlets.

Curt's main website continues to have access problems due to the heavy traffic. Here's his backup site. Others commenting on the story include: In the Bullpen, LGF, Newsbusters, and Prarie Pundit.

It's been a bit since I've updated, and there's quite a bit of additional commentary flowing on the subject of AP and Jamil Hussein. Rick Moran wonders about the whole nature of journalism and its future. The ultimate reader doesn't concern AP, it's the editors in the newsrooms and television stations that rely on the wire reports. Their lack of curiosity on the story is itself instructive and disturbing:
And what does that say then about all of those media outlets who carried this story? Curt at Flopping Aces was able to raise numerous questions about the truth of the burning Sunnis story after a couple of hours of research using nothing more than some common sense, a curious mind, and a modem. If similar questions had been raised in newsrooms across America, I can guarantee you any responsible editor would have put a “hold” on that story. At least until a later revision from AP had been forthcoming.

But that wouldn’t have been good enough. The changing nature of journalism in America means that to a large extent, reporters are almost as incurious about the world as their readers. What would it have cost to pick up the phone and call CENTCOM? The PA officers there got back to Curt within a few hours with the info that contradicted the AP story. Better yet, duplicating Curt’s work, how much trouble would it have been to Google up Capt. Jamil Hussein? Would the fact that he appeared as a source for AP so many times over the previous months raised a red flag in any newsroom in America? I doubt it.
Meanwhile, Countercolumn has his own reservations about how the AP itself is conducting itself. It isn't pretty.

Greyhawk notes some other curious news stories carried by AP and substantive portions of the AP narrative were denied to have happened by CENTCOM.

Others blogging: Junkyard Blog, Media Lies, LGF, and Blackfive.

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